An Ideal Day in Victoria
On the southern end of Vancouver sits a charismatic little city abundant with nature. As you wander the streets and pass the harbor, Victoria will charm you with its alleys, Victorian buildings, and themed music playing overhead. The British influence on this Canadian city is evident throughout downtown, from its carriages to its architecture to its afternoon tea. Canadians are notorious for being friendly, and there is no shortage of amiable Canadians in Victoria. If you only have a weekend to spare, I present to you "An Ideal Day in Victoria BC."
1. BEACON HILL PARK
I've said it before, but whenever I'm in a new city, I prefer to wake early, around 5am, before the rest of the city is abustle. This way, I can connect with the city in a personal way in which I wouldn't otherwise be able to.
Dependent upon where in downtown you're staying, either walk or drive to Beacon Hill Park, a lush nature retreat in the middle of downtown. Stroll past the ponds, cross the bridge, perhaps come across a peacock, and wind the paths that span 200 acres. It's always tranquil, but it's especially serene in the morning before others arrive.
100 Cook St, Victoria, BC V8V, Canada
Next, head over to Pour, which opens at 7am. For me, finding an ideal coffee spot in a city is akin to finding gold in a mine. Pour's brick wall, wood floor, and bright atmosphere are as inviting as the affable baristas who are more than happy to answer your questions. It's situated directly on Government Street, which is the main avenue in downtown Victoria, so you can't miss it. If you're not inclined toward coffee, they also make a delicious London Fog, and during warmer months, they serve gelato!
817 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W, Canada
3. Munro's Books
After coffee, continue down Government Street. to Munro's Books, which opens at 9am. One thing I always search for when I'm in a new city is a bookshop. I can't leave a city without a new book.
Named the third best bookstore in the world by National Geographic, Munro's Books stands regally with grand arches and pillars and welcomes you with an array of books and genres. You'll likely walk away with an armful.
Website 1022 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1X7, Canada
4. Afternoon Tea at The Empress
After storing your books away safely in your hotel room or apartment, head to The Empress for their renowned afternoon tea which begins service at 11 am. Prepared by the former executive chef to the Royal Family, this afternoon tea is one of the best I've ever had and includes selections of sandwiches and pastries that have been the favorites of the Queen and the Royal Family over the years.
792 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5, Canada
5. BUTCHART GARDENS
After indulging in decadence and elegance, make your way to Butchart Gardens, which is one of the most magnificent botanical gardens you'll have ever laid eyes on. Wander past the forest groves, explore the Sunken Garden, linger in the Rose Garden, trek to the Japanese Garden, and finish with gelato in the Piazza. It's a brilliant way to spend the afternoon.
800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8, Canada
6. BARD & BANKER
After a few hours of rest for your poor, tired feet, finish the evening with dinner and drinks at Bard & Banker, a two-level Irish pub that offers nightly live music. Not only is their dinner menu fantastic, but their sticky toffee pudding is divine.
1022 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1X7, Canada